Ukrainian business owner raising relief money, reunited with parents
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Charlottesville man from Ukraine helped bring his fleeing parents to the U.S. last week.
"My hometown Kharkiv, Ukraine, got destroyed like a lot," said Denys Kobzan.
He says he continues trying to make sense of a tragedy that seems incomprehensible.
"It's hard because when you see the building you used to go to school in is completely destroyed, or the house you've been going through every morning doesn't have a roof and it's completely destroyed as well," Kobzan said.
The local business owner is also selling merchandise to raise relief money for Ukraine.
The owner of Mister Fix Phone and Computer Repair Shop is selling $35 t-shirts to help aid relief efforts.
Mister Fix is located on the Downtown Mall at 503 E. Main St. People can pick up a shirt Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday between 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"We help with medicine, food, with basic supplies,” Kobzan said. "It all helps because unfortunately, not everyone was able to leave their hometowns.”
Kobzan’s parents-in-law were able to flee Ukraine just last week.
The only things Igor and Tetiana Yerko brought with them are the clothes on their backs and an immeasurable amount of uncertainty.
"We still don't know if our house is still there or not, because everybody escaped. There's no gas, no water, no electricity. Cellular signal is super, super low. There is still, according to what we know, bombarding and shooting going on,” Igor said.
Igor says he lost his business in Ukraine since the war began. He and his wife also had to leave their seven-year-old cat Sima behind in Ukraine.
Tetiana says she remains hopeful despite the future looking unclear.
"We don't know how things are going to be between Ukraine and Russia in the future," she said. "We used to be brothers, but now we're just neighbors. We cannot predict how things are going to happen, but because of this war, the whole country, all of the people of Ukraine, we have become reunited. We believe that everything will be fine and we will survive."